Drug Treatment Court Funding Program, Management Response and Action Plan

Project Title: Drug Treatment Court Funding Program (DTCFP), Evaluation 2009

Responsibility Centre: Programs Branch

Findings Recommendations Management
Action Plan Title of Person Responsible Anticipated Implementation Date
The Evaluation found that the DTCFP remains relevant and that Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) respond to the long-standing federal government priority to address substance use in a criminal justice context. The Evaluation also concluded that these specialized courts represent an innovative alternative to address non-violent, drug-motivated crime. Recommendation 1:

The DTCFP should continue studying the effectiveness of DTCs in Canada.

In its policy role, the DTCFP shall support pilots and gather and disseminate information on this innovative approach to problem solving within the Canadian court system.
Pending approval of new Terms and Conditions, the DTCFP will continue to improve the implementation of the program Director, Policy Planning Directorate, Programs Branch Ongoing
The Evaluation found that the DTCFP has effectively developed and managed the DTC contribution agreements. However there were some challenges in the administration of the contribution agreements that were unanticipated because four of the six agreements were with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

With NGOs as funding recipients, the DTCFP had to change the terms and conditions of the program to provide regular advances. By restricting the eligibility criteria to provincial and territorial governments, the federal government will ensure their support for innovations within court services that lie within their jurisdiction.
Recommendation 2:

In future projects, eligibility for DTC funding should be restricted to provincial and territorial governments.

The DTCFP will review the challenges associated with different types of recipients as it seeks renewal of new terms and conditions.
Draft and seek approval of new Terms and Conditions. Director, Policy Planning , Directorate Programs Branch Prior to April 1, 2010
The Evaluation found limited awareness/use of the DTCFP communication activities depending on the stakeholder or type of communication activity. There is support among key stakeholders for more opportunities for DTC team members to network and share information.

For example, improvements to communications could be accomplished through such means as: more systematic use of the electronic bulletin board, increasing opportunities for in-person meetings or conference calls among different DTC groups for the sharing of best practices (i.e. Directors, Crown, Treatment, etc.) and/or developing more coordinated approaches to dealing with shared DTC issues.

In addition, the evaluation found that the DTC sites were having difficulty in the following areas:
  1. Attracting or retaining youth, Aboriginal men and women, sex trade workers and women in general into the program;
  2. Challenges with understanding the roles and responsibilities across the court and treatment teams;
  3. Financial and human resource constraints
While the program issues remain the responsibility of provincial jurisdictions, the DTCFP could collect and disseminate best practice information on the areas that have been identified by the evaluation as problematic or challenging.
Recommendation 3:

The DTCFP should take more measures to facilitate effective communication among the key stakeholders.

The DTCFP agrees that additional measures to increase the uptake of the various methods of communication and best practices would be beneficial.

The DTCFP will explore linkages with senior P/T health and Justice officials within existing structures as well as potentially establishing new linkages where warranted.
DOJ will continue to make best efforts to increase the uptake of various methods of communication within its limited resources

This could include seeking resources to continue biennial conferences, establishing working groups and enhancing information exchanges as well as enhancing data collection
Director, Policy Planning Directorate, Programs Branch Ongoing, depending on resource availability.
The Evaluation found that current systems and processes in place to collect information on the effectiveness of DTCs require improvement. Data are not consistently and reliably kept, and the methods of reporting outcomes do not result in comparable information.
The Evaluation also concluded that it is likely that when the Drug Treatment Court Information System (DTCIS) is used more consistently by the DTC sites, the database will provide useful and comparable performance data.

There is a need for the DTCFP to continue to work with the DTC sites for ongoing and consistent data entry into the DTCIS
Recommendation 4:

The DTCFP should ensure that the DTCIS information system, and the data collection and reporting practices of the individual DTCs, are consistent and able to support the ongoing evaluation of the program.

The DTCIS will continue as the primary tool ensuring consistent data collection.

The systematic collection and reporting of core performance indicators is key priority for the DTCFP. Within a national context, the DTCFP will work with jurisdictions/ recipients to develop core performance measures through a collaborative process.
DTCFP shall continue to monitor monthly uploads of site DTCIS data to ensure that core performance measures are being captured in a manner that provides comparable performance data over time.

DTCIS system modifications shall be made as required.
Director, Policy Planning Directorate, Programs Branch Ongoing.
The Evaluation found that it was difficult to make comparisons between DTCs as the data were collected and reported on differently. To enable comparisons across DTCs, the DTCFP should work with DTCs to develop a few well-defined core performance measures to be systematically collected and reported on in the DTC site evaluations.

In addition, the DTCFP may want to consider an alternate evaluation model to allow for a more coordinated, less onerous approach to evaluation activities. Should the site-level evaluations continue, the sites should be required to operate from a shared evaluation framework that includes the reporting on the core performance measures.
Recommendation 5:

The evaluation of the DTCs should be coordinated through a single evaluation framework, using common definitions and performance measures.

The DTCFP will establish a Data Advisory Group that will explore alternate evaluation models to improve on the collection and reporting of data to assist in demonstrating the effectiveness of DTCs
Establish a Data Advisory Working Group Working Group with interested parties, as well as representation from DOJ Evaluation Division. Director, Policy Planning Directorate, Programs Branch Ongoing.
The Evaluation concluded that the lack of adequate housing compromises the DTCs' ability to stabilize a participant. DTC sites reported poor success with participants who remained in high-risk environments. Recommendation 6:

The DTCFP should continue to include housing as an integral component of the program.

Additional measures to enhance the ability of a DTC pilot to address the needs of clients, particularly housing, is a critical issue.

The DTCFP will continue to pursue partnerships with HRSDC and other government departments as appropriate.
DTC FP will continue to explore partnerships with federal/provincial/ and territorial departments to implement lessons learned from the summative evaluation, with particular attention to the issue of suitable housing. Director, Policy Planning Directorate, Programs Branch Ongoing.